I know where you should get married!

For those of you that might have a sneaking suspicion that there will be a ring box in your stocking or hiding in a pocket during a special New Year’s Eve dinner, allow me to plant the seed of an idea.  You should get married in Giles County.

Where do you go for an amazing hike, a special meal, or to get to the river?  Giles County.  Where would you like to gather with your friends and family to celebrate the start of your new life together? Giles County.

Gazebo ceremony at Mountain Lake photo by Jami Thompson Photography

So many venue options to fit your vision.  Tiny rustic ceremony? Lovewell Lodge — amazing views and a sweet little cabin in which to get gussied up.  Hot summer wedding? Doe Creek Orchard where you say your vows against the backdrop of a working orchard and then relax in the air conditioning of the packing house for an elegant dinner.  Winter wedding?  Trip the lights fantastic in the stone lodge at Mountain Lake where you can stay all weekend long with your special guests.  Tiny elopement or intimate second wedding?  Why they are ready for you at the Inn at Riverbend.  Big Shindig? There’s a brand new wedding barn — Walker Creek Retreat — constructed by the talented folks at New River Outdoors where you have a panoramic view of all surrounding mountains and counties complete with a catering kitchen with outstanding food.  Why, here in Giles, you can get hitched and then jump in a tube and float away together at New River’s Edge.  You can get married in an amphitheater with seating for 180 of your closest friends at another brand new venue, Kairos Resort, where you can stay overnight in the Honeymoon Yurt.

Photo by Meghann Chapman Photography – One of two ceremony settings at Lovewell Lodge

Get your groom on board by booking a Saturday morning fishing or boating expedition with the boys through Tangent Outdoors or New River Outdoors.  You can be sure they’re having a great time while you primp and prep with the ladies while drinking sustainably produced wine from Giles Mountain Vineyard.  (I recommend the Duet — a Cabernet Franc/Chambourcin blend made with grapes grown guess where!) Rehearsal dinner quandry?  Why not take them to the Palisades Restaurant — that’s where you go with special guests.

The arbor at the pond at Glen Alton Farm. Another sweet unique spot captured by Merritt Chase Photography

And to top it all off, I know where you can get locally grown flowers.

Find out more at virginiasmtnplayground.com where there are even more venues and more details to help you plan the weekend of your dreams!

Delphinium and lush greenery transform the arbor at Doe Creek Orchard. Photo by Yi-Ling Shen

Our own personal photographer!

Some of you may remember an earlier blog post when we introduced you to Team Member Yi-Ling who was participating in a photography class to help us document all things Stonecrop.  I shared with you a few of her earlier shots, and several of you asked for a follow up.  Now that it’s sitting down season, she selected images to pass to me, and I have picked a few highlights to share with you.  Yi-Ling is even willing to come back for the 2018 season and dedicate an hour or two of her Thursdays to the camera.  Stay tuned….

Flower crown
Photo by Yi-Ling Shen
Wedding aisle
Photo by Yi-Ling Shen

And just when we had these beauties installed, along came this cherub!

Ring bearer with flowers
Photo by Yi-Ling Shen
wooden box centerpiece
Photo by Yi-Ling Shen
Photo by Yi-Ling Shen
And the grand finale! One of Yi-Ling’s own arrangements as well as her photo.

Still Workin’ it…

Hooray! Someone is getting the flower share for Christmas.  I don’t consider myself sentimental, but when something from our family farm makes it under the Christmas tree, I am pretty proud.  Let us know if your someone with everything needs flowers in his or her life.  Or if you wanted the share for Christmas and didn’t get it, let us know.

It’s a wrap for us at the Blacksburg Farmers Market.  We are still harvesting for the new iteration of the Black Hen restaurant and Bar Blue — truly farm to table right smack dab in the middle of Blacksburg.  (It’s on Jackson Street! Check it out.) This week we’re sending collards, sweet potatoes, squash, and our special onions.  Check out what Chef Ashton and his top notch team are cooking up on the weekly evolving menu.

I am collecting those wedding photos from my friends the professionals and, wow, do these people work magic with light and texture.  We are so privileged that they share their results.  I’ll be updating the galleries, but here is a sneak peek!

Chelsa Yoder Photography
Kristen H Photography
Jared Ladia Photography
Magnifico Photography

Caring for your flowers

So you have just invested in some blossoms.  How can you make them last as long as possible?  Keeping that arrangement happy and healthy starts the minute you pick out your bouquet.  If you purchased it at farmers market, we’ll be happy to wrap it to keep the stems moist.  Think of those stems as straws.  If they start drinking in air, they will have a harder time drinking in water.

Get those flowers home as soon as possible.  If you want to stay and chat at market, we are happy to keep them in water until you are ready to leave.  You are always welcome to bring a vase to market or fill your travel mug with water to get your flowers home.

Once at that destination, here are some recommendations for keeping your bouquet looking its best:

Remove all paper, wrapping, and the rubber band.

Feel free to play with the flowers and arrange them just right.

Make sure your vase is clean.

Snip your stems to reveal a fresh stem surface ready for water.  Use clean, sharp kitchen scissors or garden pruners.

Make sure no leaves are dangling in the water as they add more surface area to grow bacteria.

Fill your vase half full with clean water.

Keep your flowers out of the sun and preferably in a cool place.

Check your vase every day to make sure enough water remains.

Every couple of days snip those stems again and change that water.

Remove any tired and droopy stems as they fade.

If you want to go the extra mile, you could add a few things to your water for an extra boost of protection:

  • a half teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to keep bacteria from growing in the water.
  • a pinch of sugar to feed the flowers
  • a drop of bleach to kill any existing bacteria.

Enjoy your bouquet and thanks for choosing locally-grown flowers!

Photo bug

We have a fantastic team assembled this year.  Yesterday at dinner we were listing the impressive attributes of each unique crew member.  Since quitting the intern scenario, we have hired four folks for part time work.  Then we had an application from a gal that is in Blacksburg while her husband earns his doctorate at Virginia Tech.  Yi-Ling’s visa prohibits her from being officially employed, so we send her home with flowers and vegetables in exchange for her labors.  We have also sponsored her to take an online photography class.  Here are a few of her shots in the first few weeks of study.

Bridal bouquet close-up – photo by Yi-Ling
Bridal bouquet photo by Yi-Ling
The ingredients – photos by Yi-Ling
wrist corsages, photo by Yi-Ling
Bert harvests snapdragons – photo by Yi-Ling
Jesse at work with the microgreens harvest – photo by Yi-Ling
Bri at work transplanting – photo by Yi-Ling
A greenhouse full of poppies – photo by Yi-Ling

Locally and sustainably grown flowers and vegetables